CONSIDERATION OF REPORTS SUBMITTED BY STATES
PARTIES UNDER ARTICLE 9 OF THE CONVENTION
Concluding observations of the Committee on
the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
1. The Committee
considered the tenth, eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth
periodic reports of Venezuela (CERD/C/263/Add.8/Rev.1)
at its 1169th, 1170th and 1172nd meetings (see CERD/C/SR.1169,
1170 and 1172) held on 13, 14 and 15 August 1996 and,
at its 1181st meeting, held on 21 August 1996, adopted
the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee
commends the State party on its willingness and readiness
to maintain a dialogue with the Committee through submission
of its report and expresses its appreciation to the State
party's delegation for the wealth of additional information
that it provided to the Committee orally. It also notes
with satisfaction the submission of the core document
of Venezuela (HRI/CORE/1/Add.3). The Committee regrets,
however, that the submission of the tenth, eleventh, twelfth
and thirteenth periodic reports was not timely and that
the report under consideration combines the tenth to thirteenth
reports and covers almost a 10-year period.
3. It is noted
that the State party has not made the declaration provided
for in article 14 of the Convention; some members of the
Committee requested that the possibility of making such
a declaration be considered.
B. Factors and difficulties impeding the application
of the Convention
4. It is noted
that Venezuela is undergoing an economic recession after
a period of strong economic development in the 1980s,
and that this may have a negative impact on the effective
implementation of the Convention, especially with regard
to the indigenous population and immigrants from neighbouring
countries of the Andean region for which Venezuela, with
its much more prosperous economy, has represented a pole
of attraction during the past three decades.
C. Positive aspects
5. The notable
efforts made by the State party to establish a comprehensive
legal framework that provides for pluralism and tolerance
in community life, based on the principles embodied in
the Constitution, and provisions contained in the Convention
in particular, are noted with satisfaction.
6. At the
institutional level, the establishment of various organs,
especially an agency for national indigenous policy, which
has the title of the Office of Indigenous Affairs of the
Ministry of Education, is welcomed.
7. The plan
for intercultural bilingual education, contained in presidential
Decree No. 283, which aims to promote active participation
by the indigenous communities in the various fields of
activities within Venezuelan society and to encourage
full and comprehensive knowledge of the culture of existing
ethnic groups among the rest of Venezuelan society, is
noted with interest.
is expressed concerning the intention of the State party
to ratify International Labour Organization Convention
No. 169 on the rights of indigenous peoples, which is
now being considered by the national Parliament.
D. Principal subjects of concern
9. The non-compliance
by the State party with its obligations under article
4 of the Convention is a matter of serious concern, as
is the fact that the State party has not provided sufficient
information on the implementation of the provisions contained
in that article, which call for the adoption of specific
were expressed whether victims of racial discrimination
have effective remedies at their disposal for seeking
just and adequate reparation from the competent tribunals.
It was noted, in particular, that Venezuela's legal system
does not include any provisions for compensation of victims
of racial discrimination, most of whom belong to various
11. It was
regretted that the report contains insufficient information
on the practice with respect to the implementation of
provisions of article 5 of the Convention dealing with
economic, social and cultural rights, especially with
respect to the enjoyment of those rights by the indigenous
was expressed about the insufficient measures to ensure
bilingual education of indigenous peoples and to prevent
the destruction of their cultural heritage.
is expressed that in practice there are separate prison
facilities for persons of the indigenous population.
E. Suggestions and recommendations
14. The Committee
strongly recommends that the necessary measures be taken
to bring domestic legislation into full compliance with
the provisions of article 4 of the Convention.
15. It further
recommends that particular attention be given to the effective
implementation of article 5 (e) and that relevant information
be provided in the next periodic report on the measures
taken in this regard, particularly as far as the indigenous
population and migrant workers are concerned.
efforts should be made to strengthen the system of bilingual
education in order to cover the whole of the indigenous
population, 40 per cent of which remains illiterate, and
to prevent the destruction of the indigenous cultural
17. The Committee
recommends that appropriate measures be taken to provide
health care services for indigenous communities, particularly
those located in remote regions of the country.
18. The Committee
recommends that the State party provide additional information
on the reasons for maintaining the system of separate
prison facilities for members of the indigenous population
and welcomes the fact that the State party has indicated
that increased public expenditure on prisons, to alleviate
overcrowding and resulting problems, has been given priority.
19. The Committee
also recommends that the State party, in its fourteenth
periodic report, provide more detailed information on
the system of human rights organs functioning in the country
on their respective mandates and on how those organs interact
and coordinate their activities. Information on the extent
to which the Government cooperates with non-governmental
organizations in achieving the goals set out in the Convention
would be most welcome.
20. The Committee
would appreciate receiving information from the State
party on the implementation of the Agrarian Reform Law
and how it has promoted distribution of land among indigenous
on racially-motivated violence against indigenous people
following conflicts over land and extrajudicial execution
of members of indigenous populations would be highly welcome.
22. The Committee
also recommends that the State party include in its next
periodic report information on any complaints of racial
or ethnic discrimination, in all its forms, and on judicial
action subsequently taken.
23. The Committee
suggests that the State party ensure the wide dissemination
of the text of the Convention, as well as of the report,
the summary records and the present concluding observations
in Spanish and in indigenous languages.
24. The Committee
recommends that the State party ratify at its earliest
convenience the amendments to article 8, paragraph 6,
of the Convention, adopted by the 14th meeting of States
25. The Committee
draws the State party's attention to the reporting periodicity
as determined by the Committee. It strongly recommends
that the Government of Venezuela comply fully with its
obligations under article 9 of the Convention and that
the fourteenth report, which was due on 5 January 1996,
be an updating report.